Alex Sobel

The Name I’ll Give 







Later, telling the story, I almost hit it. The dog. Her, I say her but I never knew. It wasn’t that, was never that close. Window down, yelling, bad part of town, whatever that means. I got out, cut her off, allowed her to fall toward me, on a tract. The business was closed, but the parking lot visible, letters spelling out something I didn’t want. Pure bred, covered in yellow burs. I picked them off, but I could only do so much. I couldn’t take her, didn’t have an aim. For her part, she kept moving, that tract once again. Without a collar, I had nothing to grab, the burs, my fingers were bleeding. I would have kept following, but my car window still open, I ran back, thought I could do both. Returning, she’d slipped under a fence. I wanted to call out, but I had nothing, no name to the feeling, no description I could point to later. I stood out there in the dark, the cold, almost grateful that I didn’t have to make a choice. Back in the car, a song was on the radio, one I knew. This is the name I’ll give, I thought. It’s then that I told myself I’d never listen to that song again.

Photo by John Simpkins: Looking south from Old Andrews School, a virga illuminated with late afternoon light. Cactus Smyth's homestead in middle ground.

Alex Sobel is a music teacher and freelance journalist living in Toledo, Ohio. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as The Saturday Evening Post Online, Stoneslide Corrective, Foundling Review, Hippocampus Magazine, theNewerYork, and others.